For a while I was going through a bit of a block and struggling with both writing and keeping up with reading blogs. I could not figure out what the problem was- it wasn’t that I was uninterested and it definitely wasn’t a lack of material…but I just couldn’t find the motivation to complete a post. Or to keep up with my reader.
And then it hit me.
I was reading WAY too many blogs. And because of that, my own writing was suffering. As I began to look at the blogs I was reading I found they fell into four different categories.
Blogs with connections- In the almost two years that I have been writing this blog, I have made some amazing connections with people from all over the world. It has brought so much to my life and I am thankful for these friendships in the same way I am the ones in my “real” life. I love reading your posts, I get excited when something great happens for you and sad when you have a disappointment. I look forward to your comments and appreciate your responses to mine. I think about you when you are going through a rough time, channel your energies when I am racing and lean on you for support. I am grateful for this group of wonderful bloggers.
Informational Blogs- These blogs are written mostly for informational purposes. I read them to gather information and to be a continuous learner. I don’t typically leave comments on these blogs, although when I do they are almost always returned. I don’t expect or anticipate forming relationships with the writers behind these blogs but genuinely enjoy their posts.
The “Popular” Blogs- The epiphany that started this whole post happened actually while I was reading a blog I don’t actually visit much but happened to be reading. The post had a lot to do with how many followers the writer had, how many visits their blog gets and was basically a self-love fest. I found myself extremely annoyed by the post but then remembered that the reason I hardly ever read this specific blog is for that exact reason. But then why was it still on my reader? Why was I still reading a blog that clearly irritated me? I hate to admit it but part of the reason was because I wanted to be acknowledged. So even though my questions went unanswered and they never bothered to visit my blog, I kept going back. Less and less over time but nonetheless, I was still going back. And it wasn’t just this blog either- my reader was clogged with blogs that I spent time reading/commenting with nothing in return. It was like high school all over again- you know, like when you try to be part of some group and they just won’t let you in no matter how hard you try. (I won’t mention the blog [so don’t ask] but every person who reads blogs knows the kind of blog I am talking about. There are many of them out there.)
Blogs I’m not very interested in- In just the same way that some people aren’t interested in my blog, there are ones that do not interest me. I make a valiant effort to visit every blogger that comments and check out their blogs. Usually, I will put them on my reader and then over a matter of weeks determine if it is a blog I want to keep with or not. Just like in “real life” either a connection gets made, or it doesn’t. For quite a few months though, I was keeping all of the blogs on my reader even though I genuinely wasn’t interested in them all.
Only days after I came to these conclusions, Rick passed away. Rick truly was one of my favorite bloggers. He was sincere, kind, supportive and responsive to all commentors. He valued his readers and genuinely cared about their well-being. I miss Rick and I miss his blog. But his passing has already taught me about being a better blogger. I took a look back at some of our email exchanges (wherein we talked about some of these issues) and decided to make some changes.
What it all boils down to is this- I don’t care if I have 12 or 200 followers. But I want them all to be genuine. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to read my blog. I don’t just want 300 followers just to have them. Likewise, I don’t have to follow every blog. And I shouldn’t feel bad about it. So I went ahead and took my blogroll off my blog. And I cleared out all the blogs on my reader that gave me anxiety, irritated me or did not personally interest me. It was like cleaning out a closet of clothes I never wear or don’t like…it took some time to get it done but now that I did, I feel so much better!
I feel like now I can be the blogger I really want to be- the one that devotes time to the blogs that genuinely interest her with the writers with whom I have formed connections or feel like I will connect with down the line. And along the way if I find new, inspiring and amazing blogs then that is a great thing. And if at some point a blog I currently read finds its way into one of the last two categories above, than I will remember that it is okay to stop reading. At the end of the day, you can’t read them all!